Baptist and Reflector
ABERDEEN, Miss. — The North American Mission Board has filed an official response to a lawsuit by former Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware executive director Will McRaney, who alleges NAMB wrongly interfered with his separation from the BCMD in 2015, engaged in “slander and/or libel” and attempted to interfere with his speaking engagements.
NAMB’s May 18 filing with a U.S. district court in Aberdeen, Miss., acknowledged notifying the BCMD in late 2014 of its intent to terminate an evangelism and church planting partnership with the convention, alleging the BCMD “became a dysfunctional and difficult ministry partner” during McRaney’s tenure. However, NAMB denied interfering with McRaney’s employment situation or any of his other business dealings and asked for dismissal of the suit.
The lawsuit was filed in Mississippi state district but moved to a federal district court in northern Mississippi at NAMB’s request. According to NAMB’s Notice of Removal, federal law permits NAMB to have the case removed from state court because the plaintiff and defendant are residents of different states and the amount of money at issue exceeds $75,000.
NAMB told BP in a statement, “After McRaney rejected or ignored several offers to meet and discuss these matters biblically, we regret that Dr. McRaney has chosen to involve the courts, however, since he has chosen this venue, we will be good stewards of NAMB’s resources and defend the case vigorously.”
McRaney asked in a May 18 statement e-mailed to journalists, “Why are NAMB lawyers and trustee officers offering general denials, when the complaints and allegations against NAMB President Kevin Ezell and others are specific and specific answers are available?”
NAMB’s response to the lawsuit claimed McRaney “caused the BCMD to violate the terms of the Strategic Partnership Agreement for evangelism and church planting and otherwise hindered and interfered with BCMD’s performance of its obligations.” According to the response, “NAMB was entitled” to notify the BCMD it would terminate the partnership “given the facts and circumstances as they existed at the time.”
Contrary to McRaney’s allegation he was terminated from the BCMD, the response stated, “NAMB is informed and believes that McRaney voluntarily resigned his employment pursuant to some kind of severance agreement.”
NAMB claimed McRaney “seeks to unfairly enrich himself” in filing suit and alleged he “demanded in a letter to NAMB that it pay him … $7.7 million in damages.”